GoodBookey partner Far Away Friends is a relatively young non-profit, but the organization has accomplished amazing things in just two years. Their mission to end educational poverty in rural communities by fostering global empathy was inspired by co-founder Collines Angwech’s own pursuit of education.
Collines, who grew up in the rural Ugandan community of Namasale, received a scholarship through the Invisible Children program. Because of that scholarship, she was able to travel to the U.S., where she met Jayme Ward. Jayme had been introduced to the issues in Northern Uganda through a documentary and was able to travel there and witness the community’s dire needs for education. Together, Collines and Jayme set out to provide educational opportunities for children in Collines’ hometown of Namasale.
Because Namasale is so rural, children have to walk miles to get to school—if there’s even a school available. Many of the government schools are not in good condition. More often than not, the schools are just too far away, so the children aren’t able to get an education. Giving Ugandans the same educational opportunities they had been given is Collines’ and Jayme’s dream. This was to change the Ugandan experience from a system where very few people are fortunate enough to receive education to one where almost everyone has access to it.
Far Away Friends’ first school, Global Leaders Day & Boarding Primary School, opened in March 2016 in Namasale with the help of the local community. Not only did locals help build the school itself, but all staff and teachers at the school are Ugandans as well, while Collines serves as the school’s principal. “We didn’t want to be another organization going into communities we didn’t know and telling them what they needed,” said Kaitlynn Phillips, Director of Development for Far Away Friends. “We work with them as a partner and not a charity, creating something together that could change how people all over the world see the people of Uganda.”
And it appears that this mindset has paid off. Global Leaders has approximately 75 to 100 children per term, most of whom are boarding students. “The children are so excited to be there. There’s a new liveliness in the town, and the school is a point of pride,” said Phillips. “The students love it there so much that the head mistress even had to write a marching song to help them leave at the end of the day.”
Far Away Friends has much more it hopes to accomplish in the coming years. They recently received funding for water tanks at the school to provide water to the school and the community. They are now working on funding for the teachers’ salaries through the Operation Teach program. In addition, Far Away Friends is trying to build a soccer field and garden at the school. These will be complete the installation of solar panels, and get more desks, chairs, and uniforms for the students. And, of course, the need for smaller items like soap, pencils, and books is ongoing.
The organization also aspires to build a secondary school in Namasale and to eventually build schools throughout Uganda. Many leaders are already inquiring about building schools in their communities. “Funding is hard to obtain, as with any non-profit,” Phillips said. “We do have big dreams and goals. We want to make sure our schools are sustainable and living up to the standards promised to the community.”
Far Away Friends’ connection to GoodBookey is a unique one. Phillips’ twin brother helped code the GoodBookey app and turned his sister on to the platform, initiating the partnership. “GoodBookey has been so great to us. They have been a great partner,” she said. “We can’t wait to see the partnership progress and see the benefits of working with GoodBookey.”
To learn more about Far Away Friends, please visit their website at www.farawayfriendsglobal.com.